Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Shands pleads guilty to embezzlement.

Morgan Shands pleaded guilty yesterday to embezzling from an American Legion post.  WLOX reported:

WLOX News has confirmed Morgan Shands pleaded guilty Monday to stealing $370,000 from the bingo hall operated inside a Cleveland, Mississippi American Legion post.

Shands entered his guilty plea in a Clarksdale courtroom and was immediately taken into custody. Brett Singletary, an attorney for the American Legion post, expects Shands to serve at least half of 5-year prison sentence. Singletary said a grand jury indicted Shands two years ago.

Singletary noted the name Morgan Shands may be familiar to people who follow state politics. Several years ago, Shands ran Billy Hewes' unsuccessful Lt. Governor campaign. Article

Earlier post with copy of indictment.  

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

This happens more often than you would think. Usually the organization does not press charges and they should, IMO.

Anonymous said...

he's eligible for release in 18 months

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves correctly, wasn't Elvis in the bingo business after he was a supervisor
In Madison County?

Anonymous said...

Now let's get some things straight. His connection to politics goes deeper than just Billy Hewes. Shands was active in the democratic party for a long time and worked for folks like Jim Hood until about 2009 or so. ** Side note: His nephew currently works for Hewes.

Anonymous said...

Suppose a University decided that all of it's professors must have at least ten years of real world experience, plus the normal educational achievements. 'Real world' meaning working for companies who attempt to make a profit. Working for government, for a school, or for a charity would not count. Now suppose that that school charged 20% more than competing schools, because they are hiring more experienced people. As a parent, would this be a selling point to you? Would you pay 20% more to have professors with documented real world experience?
Obviously, a LOT of colleges have no clue about preparing students to work in the real world.

Anonymous said...

@12:23, are you talking about CV? The same CV that was a staunch democrat in college and worked for them, and then upon graduating started working for Thad Cochran during his last run and now works for something community developmentwise on the coast? The same CV that worked at Bingo Baby the whole time he was at DSU?

Anonymous said...

12:51 - How in the world is your comment relevant to Morgan Shands case?

Guess maybe you didn't attend such a school as you are describing?

PittPanther said...

12:51pm, you might want to learn and understand the difference between university and trade school. Whoever told you that the purpose of a university is to prepare students to work in the real world, lied to you.

Anonymous said...

1:30, nice try to pitch the Cochran angle, but if you are talking about the one that spent an afternoon walking neighborhoods knocking on doors for $50, kinda hard to call that "working for Cochran". Maybe could be called working for Cochran Campaign and I'm sure they were glad to have him just like all campaigns welcome all the volunteers they can get.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how much of that money went to fund Morgan's liquor store that is in his wife and son's name? Come on Delbert - do your job!

Anonymous said...

Whoever posted he is eligible for parole in 18 months doesn't have a clue. He isn't.

The real back story is much better than anything you are reading on here or in the local media. If I were a "connected" politician, I would be thinking twice about every business associate, every business decision and every move made. What happened to Shands could happen to anyone. Politics is a rough business.. Get on the wrong side of the right person in power and they will bury you. Is it not enough for the trolls on here that he is headed to jail? State facility at that. No club fed for him. Certainly a much harsher penalty for
any misdeeds than many others that are accused and plead their way out ever get. The politicos in this state have gotten their pound of flesh and more out of him. A strong message has been sent and a lesson for everyone.

Anonymous said...

As a long time practioner of the art of politics in this state, if 6:30 is correct in his assessment, I hope he is correct.

Good political practioners don't participate in illegal or unethical activities. Yes, we walk up to the edge of ok with some activities, but we don't do things that are against the law or against moral or ethical boundaries.

As a "connected" politician, I am not thinking at all about any business associates or business decisions or moves I have ever made. What happened to Shands (an individual I have known for a long time and considered a friend, although I found some of his tactics to be ones that I would not have condoned) might be able to happen to many, but I disagree that it could happen to any of my 'connected' friends.

Politics is a rough business. And I have been on the wrong side of several people in power, and have paid the price several times. But it has never involved anything that included "jail", or "state facility" or "pleadings". And I never had to plead my way out. In fact, when I was on the 'wrong side' I proudly announced the fact. Maybe that is the difference - 6:30 has evidently been operating as an operative on the shady side for all these years. Hope you get your just deserts.

Anonymous said...

This is included in the story:

"Singletary noted the name Morgan Shands may be familiar to people who follow state politics. Several years ago, Shands ran Billy Hewes' unsuccessful Lt. Governor campaign."

Why would a local attorney NOTE that? What's it got to do with stealing from a veteran's organization? I'm a believer in connecting dots, but not at throwing shit at the wall and hoping some of it will turn to 'dots'.

Pappy O'Daniel said...

@1:06 ...so proud of being politically connected he posted anonymously. The real problem with politics in this state and to a marginally lesser degree nationwide is that it is conducted in the abstract, devoid of principles, in the absence of any semblance or attempt to provide competent leadership to this state. It's simply a choice of my yo-yo buddies are better than yours. And congratulations on being politically connected in this state...pretty significant achievement when every other person that lives in Mississippi is an elected official. Also, why is it that any time anyone mentions Thad Cochran some people feel that they must scurry out and protect old Thad...Wasn't he supposed to be making it rain right now?

Anonymous said...


What about the other officers in the American Legion Post? I know at least one of them was told by an investigator of the gaming commission that it was his fiduciary duty as an officer to make sure that everything was on the up and up. I also would like to point out that the gaming commission has not made an arrest in a number of years. The electronic machines are supposed to be tested in the gaming commission's lab before that are put into use. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE! The state legislature and PEER need to investigate!

Anonymous said...

I've been told that at least one other officer in the American Legion Post had a cell phone paid from the bingo proceeds. Shands even gave the number out for the individual. They need to look into others involved. St. Ambrose Leadership school was to be located the old Wesson school in Wesson. The state of Mississippi even issued bonds totaling $1,000,000 to renovate the building. WHERE DID THAT MONEY GO? What about the Wolf Hollow subdivision in Wesson - who developed that and how did they get the money? Many questions unanswered. This could lead back to Boy's State! Look at the links below:

http://www.dailyleader.com/2002/12/26/old-wesson-school-project-progressing/

http://www.dailyleader.com/2001/12/17/wesson-gets-more-help-on-school-plan/

http://www.wessonms.org/

Anonymous said...

More links:

http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/640/640923019/640923019_200612_990O.pdf

http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/640/640923019/640923019_201012_990O.pdf

Also it needs to be noted that Shands' wife's maiden name is AMBROSE!

Anonymous said...

1:06 is Steve Seale

Anonymous said...

Bet Wicker and Harper are getting a little nervous about one of their employees!

Anonymous said...

Give these people a break - Shand's wife is a nurse and was a caregiver for the kids at ST. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis.

Anonymous said...

Morgan Shands and Steve Guyton have been role models for thousands of kids involved in Boy's State. They have done a tremendous job in educating the youth of our state!

Anonymous said...

I know Morgan. He made a big mistake on this one, and will pay a price. However, he is a very smart politico. I would hire him in a minute after the gets out if I were a candidate or elected official.

Anonymous said...

Want an interest free loan? You can get one from Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Look at the link below - he gave Morgan Shands a loan interest free in the amount of $370,116.94, to be paid back over ten years. Good old Delbert - a conservative, fiscal Republican businessman and attorney. To hell with Biloxi and family values - he wants more casinos! Call him at his office @ 601-359-1350 and tell him no more free deals, unless he wants to loan us some money interest free. Then we'll get on his bandwagon!

Anonymous said...

How old is Delbert - if I'm not mistaken, he and Haley are the same age and Haley said about 6 years ago that he was to old to run for another office. I see that Phil's buddy Josh is handling the fundraiser's for Delbert. But be the Dilbert plans to run for governor. What we don't need is another 8 years of Phil and Josh running things! We're if the crapper already under Phil's leadership!

Anonymous said...

Just from reading this a person would get the idea that all of the Ms. politicians are crooked, dishonest, criminals. That is not true. There are crooked, dishonest, criminal politicians in other states also.
All politicians are crooked, dishonest criminals. If they were not they would not be politicians.

Anonymous said...

9:01,if a convicted criminal is what you consider a role model you need to look up the meaning of the words. You have them very mixed up with some other words like crook, criminal, etc.

Unconnected.. said...

When Bobby Delaughter got his ass in a sling and was sentenced to the slammer there were calls for his pardon. His wife was/is a fine person and he had done a lot of good in the community plus he kept his room neat in college. That aside, the steel door still slammed shut.

Rick Ward said...

AS PAUL HARVEY WOULD SAY, “NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY”

In 2011, I knew a guy named John Younger who worked for LT Governor wannabe Tate Reeves and he knew I wanted to go after the bingo scum. We talked one day and I told him I was writing a locally published book hoping to get it out before the November 2011 election but was short on funds.

Younger invited me to his office to meet with Rick Hux another henchman for Tate Reeves who later became Sergeant at Arms for the Senate but has recently retired. I had considered Younger a friend but I didn’t know I was about to be used by him and Hux over our mutually associated interest. They were after “attaboys” and job security both then and in the future from their boss Tate Reeves.

I knew Morgan Shands when I had worked for Mike Moore at the Attorney General’s Office. Frankly, I liked Morgan and most people I knew liked him at the time. But I told Morgan in 1999 or 2000 that he was entering a risky cut-throat, bogus, corrupt business, infiltrated with crooks from every angle and would be tempted by hundreds of thousands of cash dollars. He insisted he wanted to help Boy’s State and at the time I had no reason to believe otherwise because I knew he had been very involved in that program.

But as years went by and I saw some things he had been involved in I became suspicious and started to doing a cursory look (as a private citizen) into his business using IRS public record forms. Hux and Younger convinced me that Tate Reeves would be a LT Governor who would go after the Bingo corruption and they would help me continue with the book and give me information before the election that could influence certain positions. Looking back I was very naïve. They had their own agenda for their boss who must have crossed ways with Morgan at some point during his past as a politico in both state and federal elections, as well as campaign manager for Billy Hewes.

As I look back at the visits to Tate Reeves’ office to meet with this dynamic duo, (Hux and Younger) they were after the throats of Morgan Shands and a guy named Steve Guyton. I didn’t even know who he was at the time. They handed me document after document that pointed me in the direction the book I was writing needed to go. Then when I couldn’t afford the printing, I got a call from them one day to come to the office where they counted me out $500 for the initial printing of as many copies as I could get including the couple of hundred I threw in. I gave them boxes of the books that they said they couldn’t wait to distribute before the election.

This story is already long enough but in my next post, I will post two pages directly from the book written in late 2011 and if you notice the years Shands and his sister were indicted for, it led up to 2012 (but only went back to 2008).

THIS WAS A POLITICAL HIT STAGED BY THE TATE REEVES TEAM. (and by the way, after repeated attempts through Tate Reeves boys to get him to do something about Bingo, he never did and now I know never intended to in the first place.)

Anonymous said...

Were the charges against Morgan's sister dropped as part of the deal? It wouldn't surprise me to know Morgan took a bullet for her.

Tragic irony here - Morgan's old boss Mike Moore led the crusade to essentially criminalize the bingo business back when Ray Mabus was pushing for a state lottery. Once gaming was legalized the state lottery became an afterthought and bingo was placed under the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, which treats it like the red-headed stepchild of Mississippi gaming. The regulations are so ambiguous that virtually anyone can be accused of embezzlement if they are, indeed, targeted (as suggested by Rick Ward above). I really would like to see how much of the money allegedly embezzled actually went to Boys State.

Anonymous said...

First off, the folks in the Delta couldn't care less about Tate Reeves, Jim Hood, or any other Jackson politico cronies. The Feds and the AG passed on this. It was brought to the local DA by the gaming commission. They investigated, found crime(s) and nailed the crook to the wall. I hardly think the black democrat DA in Cleveland MS is doing favors for big shot republicans. Hats off to ADA Flint for prosecuting this and seeing it through. Also hats off to the judge for making Shane's do time. According to the papers, his sister is next.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with 6:24. Rick Ward's ego, and his decade long ranting and thinking of himself as an important player and crusader for everything 'he thinks' is right rivals that of Trump, on a much smaller scale.

This case is local - once you get south of Highway 82, there isn't a politician that gave a damn about this situation.

Rick Ward said...

When you last few anonymous, spineless whinners put your name, address, phone numbers and agencies employed by out in the open like I always have, I will be glad to give a good response. I have never hidden and will never hide behind a screen name or say things under the title "anonymous." For all I know, this could be Tater himself.

Oh by the way, it was our wonderful Republican Governor Haley Barber who APPOINTED that black female DA up there in the delta boys. She got the case because it happened in her jurisdiction. The AG could have taken, but that ain't never gonna happen and he would never go after his mentor's right hand man.

Bingo was initially given to the State Tax Commission, not MGC. And as far as Mike Moore making the law, that didn't happen but guess what since you think you know so much about the bingo law. There are NO felony crimes in the Bingo Act. And Embezzlement is not even a crime in the Bingo Act. To charge anybody in the bingo business with embezzlement, you have to go outside the bingo act and use the standard criminal code, something I did when I got there and nobody else ever had. Mike Moore tried one time in the early to mid 90's against Sue Hawthorne and Robert Malone. But he got his ass handed to him by Jackson Attorney Mike Farrell and he never touched bingo again.

And one of the biggest Yazoo City Delta Area businessmen in Bentonia running a company with the name Red in it is probably Tate's biggest supporter. So you boys need to get your facts straight.

No, I wasn't an important player. I was used by an important player to get the word out and then he re-nigged on his word, something I don't do.

It is not fair for me to be in this tag team match by myself so why don't you anonymous boys shed the title, tell me who you are and lets take on each other one at a time. I am game.

Not Anonymous - satisfied? said...

OK Rick. When did you make the deal with Tater? What did Tater promise to you he would do?

And not that it matters, but once a DA is appointed it is just until the next following November. I assume but haven't checked because I don't think it matters one way or the other that she got elected shortly after her appointment.

And no, the AG cannot just take a case he wants to if it is in the DA's jurisdiction. He can ask to join in, or if the DA has a conflict he can be asked to take it. But the AG could not have taken it like you say. And, by the way, far be it for me to take the side of Jim Hood cause I don't give a damn in anyway about him or his reputation.

Lastly (and I know from having tried to read your 'book') that your dot connecting generally lacks a lot, but what in the hell does that comment about the Bentonia guy, that you claim to be Tater's biggest supporter but I think the facts would prove you wrong on that, have to do with the rest of this story? Or did you just want to throw in an unrelated issue so that your posts will read like your book did - totally disjointed.

Anonymous said...

Who the fig is Rick Ward and why does he think he is important? Is he kin to that woman who is always writing letters to the editor?

Rick Ward said...

You know the Secretary of State did his thing within a year or so after I reported the suspicious activity in my book in late 2011. But what a lot of people aren't understanding is that was merely a civil thing wrapped up before the holidays in 2013. It is not uncommon for a case like that to take a year or two. But they DID NOT initiate criminal charges. The Gaming Commission did.

There was an agreement between SOS and Morgan Shands to pay back the money they found in an audit to be misspent for reasons other than the charitable purpose. That agreement was written in the first few days of January 2014. It was signed by Shands and his assistant in the Bingo Hall on Feb 5th and 6th of 2014 requiring Shands to pay back the money NOT TO THE SOS, but to the Bingo Hall Charity (which for all practical purposes WAS Shands, the American Legion incorporator). They never gave money to veterans as the name applies, it was for Boys State and a bogus college, but ended up in Shands' own hands. So Shands got a no interest 10 year loan to pay off his restitution to himself. The only benefit the SOS would see (if ever paid) would be a $17,000 fine assessed against Shands. But the SOS documentation only shows that $5,000 was paid (presumably to the charity).

So now that he is headed to prison will the SOS ever get its cut, which is no more than investigative costs incurred and paid for by the taxpaying citizens of the state? Read the agreement. This was the end all (so Morgan thought)and would go away. If he had known the Gaming Commission would come back a month later and present the case to the grand jury for criminal indictment, he never would have agreed to the deal with the SOS.

Since the Gaming Commission had vowed for years NOT to go after offenders on criminal charges (rather administrative regulations) he thought he was in the clear and I am sure MGC did too, but some strong politician with an axe to grind got to them and forced their hand, making them do their job immediately. Can you guess who that might have been?

I am surprised Morgan isn't screaming that he was singled out for criminal charges when the Gaming Commission had ignored them and failed to pursue them on anybody in the past. Commissioners and at least one former Executive Director had told various media outlets over the last 15 years that they would not use criminal charges to prosecute offenders.

Rick Ward said...

Hey to the last two masked men, I never said I was "anybody." I am just the messenger who those with their toes stepped on always like to shoot. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express one night recently!

As a matter of fact, even with my terrible writing ability and my inability to articulate understandable details (so eloquently pointed out by you), I was even a "guest columnist" for USA TODAY on July 5, 2016 over this very issue. Have either of you two losers had that honor?

Check it out: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/07/05/blind-eye-turned-charitable-bingo-abuses-rick-ward/86695608/

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